Does auto insurance cover pets injured in car accidents?

Many of us take our pets with us when we run errands or visit out-of-state relatives. Perhaps you take your pet for a ride in a car to go to the park or to visit the veterinarian. But what if the worst happens and you get into a car accident with your pet? Does auto insurance cover pets?

Modern automotive insurance coverage is changing. Insurance companies are starting to realize that pets have taken on an important role in many American families. Pet owners are spending more money than ever on things like pet grooming, toys, name brand pet foods, surgeries and medications for sick pets, and even pet clothing.

Today, pets are family members. Since one of the purposes of automobile insurance is to ensure that our family members are covered in case of an accident, shouldn’t our pets be included under that coverage?

Auto Coverage May Cover Pets

Although insurance companies are beginning to realize that pet owners want coverage for their four-legged friends, only some currently offer this type of coverage.

The other driver’s property damage liability coverage may cover your pet’s injuries if the other driver caused the wreck. If you were at fault, most policies will not cover this type of “property” damage. 

Other insurers may offer coverage for pet injuries regardless of fault. For example, Progressive offers up to $1,000 in coverage for pet injuries even if you were to blame for the accident.

Of the auto insurers that offer automatic or optional pet coverage, most require that you already have collision coverage – a popular type of optional coverage in Georgia – in place before you can add pet coverage. Check your policy or call your insurer to see if your pet is covered. If not, you may be able to add pet coverage for an additional fee.

But before you sign up for additional coverage make sure to read the fine print and remember:

  • You may need to have collision coverage before you can add pet coverage
  • Some policies only cover cats and dogs, leaving other pets uncovered

What about general pet insurance policies?

Some people have pet insurance policies that are entirely separate from automobile insurance. These types of insurance policies are becoming increasingly popular and may help cover the cost if a pet becomes injured in an auto accident.

These policies look a lot like human health insurance plans. If your pet is injured, either while riding in a car or elsewhere, or your pet gets sick, the pet insurance policy will cover some or all of the costs.

Of course, it is important to remember that just like typical health insurance, these policies come with deductibles, exclusions, and exceptions that could leave you to pay at least a portion of the vet bills.                      

If you were in an accident and have questions about your legal options or available coverage, contact Jason Schultz at 404-474-0804. 

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